10 Words & Phrases to Never Put on a Resume
Recruiters and employers are consistently expanding their knowledge on words to look out for when identifying a candidate. Stay ahead of the curb and ditch some red flag words. Believe it or not, some words can hinder your chances even if you are the most qualified.
Beware of the fluff words and the extra information you don’t need to include. When adding information that isn’t necessary, you appear as compensating for your lack of skills. Increase your chances of landing higher positions and securing new opportunities by dodging these words and phrases.
1. “Responsible for…”
Being specific is key when trying to grasp the attention of recruiters, so when you say you were responsible for something it’s not completely direct and overused. Create an image of what exactly you were responsible for and demonstrate your responsibilities clearly.
For example, if you managed an important transition don’t write that you were “Responsible for transitioning…” Instead, write the statistics of how many people you helped and what you did. “Critical company transition in the recent 20 years, managed a seamless transition leading a team of ten people”.
Illustrating what you were responsible for holds further weight than using a fluff word to carry your resume.
This is a clear example of what not put on a resume. Your personal hobbies won’t land you the job or motivate a recruiter to place you within a company. Most employers don’t care if you play tennis or journal in your free time.
Becoming well rounded on paper stands out more when you’re involved in your community or have headed a charity. The right time to include hobbies in a resume is rare. Instead, find something of value that you’ve done in the past which could translate well in the workforce.
3. Microsoft Office for Admin & Tech jobs
Proficiency in Microsoft Office is required for any office or tech job. Unless you’re a recent graduate, most hiring managers that come across your resume will overlook that you know how to use Microsoft Office.
There isn’t a need to write down you know how to turn a computer on and off, so don’t draw yourself to only know the basics by including Microsoft Office. If you don’t already have experience with this program, watch some tutorial videos to guide you through the basics of operating Word, Power Point, and Excel.
4. Go-To Person
The term “Go-To Person” is very vague and not the most professional. Avoid adding this word to your resume since it doesn’t hold much value. If you want to convey that you were the person who delegated work, mediated conflict, or served as a point of contact, say that instead.
Begin by giving examples of why people would go to you in certain events. “Point of contact for managing onboarding,” is more specific. Being the “Do-To Person” doesn’t suggest the importance of your work or position. Barbara Hernandez-Taylor, the head of Product Marketing for the company Azuga describes it the best, “Don’t include that you’re the go-to person on a resume. Depict exactly why you think you are. Get creative.”
5. Results Driven
Did you make a significant impact at your previous workplace? Did you cut costs by 90% or implement a new tool to expedite turnaround time? An impactful change should be highlighted.
Although acceptable in the resume summary, using the phrase “Results Driven” to describe any achievements waters down your accomplishments with obscurity. Be prepared to substantiate your achievements. There isn’t much integrity in saying your results driven without any data, analysis, or concrete results.
6. Salary Negotiable
Writing this on your resume or cover letter is selling yourself short. Take pride in the fact that you’re an asset to any company. Advertising that you are willing to negotiate your salary isn’t the best approach to selling yourself on paper. It becomes clear to recruiters that you may be content with undervaluing yourself.
7. Transferable Skills
Having multiple skills is an asset that can be explicitly highlighted. “Transferable Skills” is a broad term, if you have outstanding creative writing skills or advanced excel knowledge make sure to showcase that. Anyone can obviously transfer their office skills to another job, finding those skills that make you unique will distinguish you from the rest.
Explaining your personality is not required on a resume. Hard skills and experience are what is favored by those looking at your resume. Displaying your creative language doesn’t go far when applying for positions unrelated to writing.
Avoid words such as self-motivated, dynamic, or any unspecific terms that may not give insight into your experience. Concentrating on the core competencies of your work is the main objective when writing your resume. The best time to demonstrate your personality is during your in-person interview.
9. Hard Worker
What determines you as a hard worker? Explain how you embody hard work as opposed to throwing the word on your resume. “Hard worker” is an extremely common phrase every recruiter and employer has heard many times.
Try your best to avoid this resume mistake since using this term might give the impression that you are like all the other candidates. It’s fine to include this term yf you have data to back up your “hard working” claim.
10. Team Player
Substitute the phrase “Team Player” for “collaborated,” or “mentored.” Every employer has the expectation that whoever they are hiring can be flexible in a team setting. Companies don’t just employ only a single individual who works in isolation.
You’re expected to work in a team setting for nearly every job. And if not directly with a team, then with other coworkers who might need to rely on you for certain tasks. There isn’t a need to give the impression that you don’t already expect to be a “Team Player.” This is another outdated and frequented term that can be forgotten from your resume.
Leverage your resume by using words that are specific and direct. You want to relay that you are the person you say you are on paper. Be sure to take your time and choose your words wisely, you’re trying to convince the recruiter that you’re the perfect fit.
Writing a great resume isn’t easy however, avoiding these overused words will help your chances of landing an interview.
Anais Jun writes articles for businesses that want to explore different marketing strategies. Currently she is a contributor for 365 Business Tips and a digital marketing expert for brands such as TU SmartMove. Her educational background in Sociology helps her tackle topics regarding demographic trends, messaging, and branding.